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Girlfriend in a Coma Paperback – Feb 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: ReganBooks (Feb. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060987324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060987329
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,496,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In this latest novel from the poet laureate of Gen X--who is himself now a dangerously mature 36--boy does indeed meet girl. The year is 1979, and the lovers get right down to business in a very Couplandian bit of plein air intercourse: "Karen and I deflowered each other atop Grouse Mountain, among the cedars beside a ski slope, atop crystal snow shards beneath penlight stars. It was a December night so cold and clear that the air felt like the air of the Moon--lung-burning; mentholated and pure; hint of ozone, zinc, ski wax, and Karen's strawberry shampoo." Are we in for an archetypal '80s romance, played out against a pop-cultural backdrop? Nope. Only hours after losing her virginity, Karen loses consciousness as well--for almost two decades. The narrator and his circle soldier on, making the slow progression from debauched Vancouver youths to semi-responsible adults. Several end up working on a television series that bears a suspicious resemblance to The X-Files (surely a self-referential wink on the author's part). And then ... Karen wakes up. Her astonishment-- which suggests a 20th-century, substance-abusing Rip Van Winkle--dominates the second half of the novel, and gives Coupland free reign to muse about time, identity, and the meaning (if any) of the impending millennium. Alas, he also slaps a concluding apocalypse onto the novel. As sleeping sickness overwhelms the populace, the world ends with neither a bang nor a whimper, but a universal yawn--which doesn't, fortunately, outweigh the sweetness, oddity, and ironic smarts of everything that has preceded it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘This is a millennial novel of a very subtle and interesting kind. It’s visually brilliant, full of extraordinary imagery, fresh like new paint. I was absolutely knocked over by it.’
Tom Paulin, The Late Review

‘I was amazed by it. The dialogue is some of the most brilliant I’ve ever read in a novel. It’s a great wake-up call to young Americans everywhere.’
Mark Lawson, author of Bloody Margaret

‘What I found most moving and gripping about the book is that Coupland, the poet laureate of the slack generation, is clearly struggling with maturity, struggling with the expectations of his youth and the realities of his life. A wholly original and successful novel.’
Tony Parsons

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By B. Remy on 20 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
I've never read Douglas Copeland before and I found that this was an amazing book. It has the kind of prose that you just eat up. Copeland seemingly writes so easily and descriptively that after I'd finished I couldn't believe he'd created such a complete and satisfying book in so few pages.
The fact that Karen is in a coma for 17 years and that you have followed the life of her friends through that time and only a 3rd of the book is finished is incredible. The 2nd third is packed with moving descriptions of every day life, love and self-discovery, only to then have a bolt out of the blue for the last third that is a post-apocalyptic end-of-the-world truly surreal yet strangely gripping scenario. The ending does jolt a little, but if you go with it, I believe that Copeland achieves his aim of making you question modern day life, its' trapping and its' ultimate emptiness.
I was very very impressed. The book is really deep (man), and examines the meaningless of life and adulthood and the loss of dreams, yet it isn't a chore to plough through, it's a pleasure.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian Author whose early 90's novel Generation X accidently defined a generation struggling to grow into adulthood. This late 90's novel may well be his best work to date (though personally it is a close call between this and his 2003 novel Hey Nostradamus).
Coupland takes a group of characters surrounded by pop culture references and global branding and sees them from their teens through to their thirties before forcing them to confront issues that they were always to busy to think about; love, death, family, enviromental destruction, the future and what exactly are we here for anyway? Most western readers born since the wars will recognise the world the characters live in and are equally to busy to confront these important issues. To this end the book often feels like a refreshing and some times desturbing critique of the readers own life expirence. Some reviewrs here suggest that this is ham fisted. But although the writing style is stark in places I found the story all the more shocking and immersive because of it.
The books takes it's name from a song title by seminal 80's guitar popsters The Smiths and their lyrics are liberally scattered through out the chapters. Spotting these is a real treat for any Morrissey or Smiths fan but never dominates the story and characters. Music journalists have often put the Smiths cross generational legacy down to their popularity with young people struggling with the transition into adulthood. The books appeal is very similair and it feels like an essential read for any one in their late teens to mid twenties.
Girlfirned in a Coma is an accssible, engrossing and easy read, the characters are great and the story is an excellent snap shot of the culture of it's time.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ghostinthemachine1 on 8 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
OK, I admit it, I started reading this purely because I'd heard it had loads of Smiths lyrics embedded in the narrative. But I soon forgot trying to spot them as I got completely caught up in the story itself. As a whole, it's a great book, but I did enjoy the first part the most, particularly when the characters all go slightly off the rails as they get older(the description of Richard vomiting into his stero had me in stitches), and start wondering if there isn't some greater meaning to life. Coupland writes these scenes fantastically well - they are questions we've all probably asked ourselves, and maybe had drunken conversations about - but he makes the characters do it in a way that's somehow both touchingly innocent but profound at the same time.

It's also done in a way that tantalisingly hints at answers being given later in the book, and ones that are tied up with Karen, the eponymous girlfriend, and the visions she had before her coma. And indeed they are, but somehow the answers given by Coupland fails to match the intrigue of the question. For me, this led to the second and third parts being inferior. Karen waking from the coma is very moving, and her first reactions to meeting everyone again are interesting, but the apocalyptic section moves the book more to the realm of sci fi thriller. The final part I mainly found irritating, mainly because I didn't really like the character of Jared the ghost, but it somehow all came together quite well in the final scene at the dam, and the ultimate message - which seemed to be 'start looking out for the rest of the world, not just yourself' - a thought-provoking one.

The various cultural references are also interesting - the lyrics, Smiths or otherwise, the unnamed TV show which is obviously the X Files.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 April 2000
Format: Paperback
I would have given this book more stars but whilst I enjoyed almost every page of Coupland's wit, humour, and depth, the end of the book was an incredible let-down. It just got ridiculous. I won't actually tell you the ending incase you want to give the book a shot, but I was really disappointed after the rest of the book had been so enjoyable. 'Generation X' on the other hand, is a work of genius, and I strongly recommend it to those of you just starting to experience the world of Douglas Coupland.
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